At two minutes to midnight the normally quiet street was suddenly full of movement in front of the Belaire animal control building. Three cats, ten pigeons, a mouse, a rat and a Sulphur-crested cockatoo took positions in the shrubbery across the road from the business and scanned the surroundings.
“Hold here,” one of the pigeons called out. He was the leader of the Pigeon Brigade, Colonel Wellington.
Mouse, a small, fluffy black and white cat approached Colonel Wellington who, although he was mostly gray and white like the other pigeons, was easy to distinguish by his large form and makeshift medal he wore around his neck. The medal was really a large decorative brass button with a piece of twine through it.
“Are we ready, Mouse?” Colonel Wellington asked.
“Everyone is here,” Mouse said. “We are ready.”
“Recon patrol, launch, “ Colonel Wellington called out and waved his right wing in the air. Six pigeons took to flight lifting off with such grace that they were nearly silent. Mouse watched as they spread out with two taking the right, two to the left, and the other two flying high to the front of the building and then going to the roof and around the back. Mouse knew she was built to see in the dark and could see farther from the ground than the pigeons, but the view they had from above would be invaluable to the success of the mission. A small black and white mouse named ‘Little Foot’ and a scrawny rat named ‘Streets’ flanked her as she patiently waited for the reconnaissance flight to return. The other cats and pigeons waited behind her.
“How exactly did you get the name ‘Mouse’?” the unkempt, thin rat named Streets said.
“It happened by accident,” Mouse said. “When I was a small kitten with my family, the apartment manager, Miss Sorenson told my mom and dad they could only keep one of us. I was what you call the runt of the litter and my mom picked me because she worried I wouldn’t make it without her looking after me. My dad told her I would be unable to take his position defending the building and that I wasn’t even as big as a mouse. The name stuck.”
“So, you have brothers and sisters?”
“I suppose so,” Mouse said. “But I don’t remember much about them or know where they are now. How about you?”
“I never knew my pops, but my mom, she was a real go getter. She had a place where everyone came and she would serve vittles and that’s how she got her information; by listening to the conversations. She would share it for the right price. I never could cook. So, when she passed, I gave up that business. Since I knew so much about what was going on, everyone kept coming to me. With no place to go, I just roamed around the streets and soon learned where everything is and listened to what is going on. See, I know what’s going down all around town.”
“And that’s why they call you Streets,” Mouse said. “Makes sense,”
“My real name is Benson.”
“That’s a great name,” Mouse said. Why don’t you go by that?”
“I have a reputation. Here, let me put it another way,” Streets said. He took a few steps back from the road into the clearing where the other animals waited and started singing:
“They call me Streets
I know the town
I know what’s up
And what’s going down
I might be a rat but I never tell
They call me Streets
I got something to sell
You can say, I get around
Any location is my vocation
Gossip and lies, had no disguise
I heard it all and have information
The call me streets
I know the town
If it’s info you need
I got the low-down
I might be a rat
But I’ll never tell
You got something you need
I got something to sell”
Streets moved around Mouse and the others as he started talking.
“Do you know what happened on 42nd street last night?”
Mouse shook her head.
“Well, I do,” Streets said. “How about what’s going down in LODO.”
She shook her head again.
“I didn’t think so,” Streets said and started singing again.
“I might share what I know
And knowing’s what I do
Got something you need
I got something for you
You can say
I get around
You think no one’s watching
You haven’t got a clue
Got something you need
I got something for you.”
After Streets finished his song, the others clapped except for Colonel Wellington who shook his head and ruffled his feathers as he said, “If we are quite done I would remind everyone that we are on a rescue mission that we could jeopardize any minute if we don’t keep quiet!”